Z ahn Innovation Center start-up rolls out a new product


Ivan Estevez (left) and Aulio Diaz with Zahn Center’s Lindsay Siegel

While riding his skateboard from a friend’s house one night six months ago, Guillermo Jimenez got hit by a car. The 21-year old former City College student became so frightened, that he began riding his skateboard less than usual and only in the mornings. “I was struck from behind. The driver never saw that I was in front of him because there were no street lights,” says Jimenez, who suffered minor head injuries and a broken left arm. “To make matters worst I had an all-black outfit, so the driver really couldn’t see me. I’m just glad my injuries weren’t as bad as they could’ve been. I got lucky.”

Jimenez is among many skaters who have been injured or killed by a driver who didn’t see them riding in the roadways at night. According to Skateparks.org, in the past two years, most skateboarding fatalities involved a vehicle not seeing the skater in the evening.

To help, Aulio Diaz and Ivan Estevez created Torpedo Skate Lights to make skateboard riders visible at night and protect them from any future accidents. The two City College student engineers Diaz and Estevez receive financial and other kinds of support for their startup, Ekick Technologies, from the Zahn Innovation Center. Located on the City College campus, the Center is designed to encourage innovation and development and train the next generation of entrepreneurs with the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy.

Estevez conceived the product based on first-hand experience skateboarding through New York City. “I hit a van around Yankee Stadium, because he was trying to park. The guy didn’t watch out to see who was coming from the other side,” Estevez says. “I hit him [and] when he came out he said he didn’t see me. And I said wow I got lucky this time, but next time I might not be so lucky. And I came up with the idea of incorporating lights onto the skateboard because skaters weren’t able to be seen.”

Even skateboarders, who have been fortunate to avoid injury, think the light is necessary. “As a skateboarder I worry about my safety all the time, especially at night,” says Jose Rodriguez, a student at Brooklyn College. “I skateboard at night from my apartment to school, since I have evening classes. Having this on my skateboard will make me feel a lot more safer, I must say.”

Though Estevez is most passionate about skateboarders, he believes his project will benefit everyone. “We want the skaters to have presence at night, so they and everyone else around them can be safe,” he says.

The Zahn Center is sponsoring a round of competitions for $140,000 in prize money with a December 1 deadline. For more information, click here.







Tags: , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

CCNY Residence Hall Contributes to Hurricane Relief


By: Anthony Viola Hurricane season produced two of the largest storms ever seen back to back. In Houston, the victims […]

On-Campus Group Makes Voter Registration Easy

IMG_9871 (2)

By: Laura James It is that time of year again… summer is winding down, students are loaded with school assignments and […]

Keeping a Level-Head With ‘City Tutors’


By: Curtis Ashley On the list of resources you should be aware of this school year, local tutoring services should […]

Enzo Soderini: From Soccer Star to Immigration Advocate

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 6.49.51 PM

Text and photo by Hash Sesay In front of the North Academic Center at CCNY, a tight side hallway leads […]

CCNY Fights Food Insecurity with New Pantry


Text and photos by Jose Cardoso Last week, the Colin Powell School  and NYPIRG celebrated the opening of CCNY’s food […]

CCNY Students Tackle Race & Racism in Millennial America

Screen Shot 2017-02-21 at 3.10.19 PM

  A Black History Month Discussion at 1010 WINS   by Ana Sampson In post-election 2017, just about any discussion […]